PhD Studentship: Lameness in dairy cattle – Furthering our understanding of the aetiopathogenesis of the lesions of claw horn disruption

University of Nottingham - School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS)

Project title: Lameness in dairy cattle – Furthering our understanding of the aetiopathogenesis of the lesions of claw horn disruption.

Principal supervisor: Prof Jon Huxley

Other supervisors: Dr Catrin Rutland plus colleagues and collaborators

Background: The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS) undertakes research on many key aspects of companion animals and livestock health and production. Research at the School is integrated into the University structure with established world class research in biomedical sciences within the other University Schools. Research undertaken at the School is relevant to both Veterinary Medicine and Science and Comparative and Human Medicine.

Project description: The project will be based at the SVMS at the University of Nottingham and is part of an exciting, research partnership with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB Dairy).

We would like to invite applications for a 3.5 year PhD position, funded by the AHDB Dairy, to investigate the aetiopathogenesis and prevention of claw horn disease in dairy cattle. This studentship is one of two AHDB funded PhDs related to dairy cow lameness and fits into a larger, long-term cohesive project. The successful applicant will work within the Dairy Herd Health Group (

Our latest work has demonstrated the importance of changes to the anatomy of the foot (particularly the distal phalanx and digital cushion), as causes of claw horn disease. If the system of support structures in the foot fail our work suggests that irreversible damage occurs which means the animal becomes more susceptible to repeated bouts of lameness for the rest of her life.

The successful applicant will help design, instigate and run studies to explore these hypotheses including a large scale, long term randomised study to investigate the impact of NSAID administration on the development of claw horn disease on-farm and studies designed to characterise pathological changes to distal limb anatomy using histology and research grade imaging modalities.

The successful candidate will require an enthusiasm for working in the dairy industry and a desire to promote the highest standards of dairy cow health and welfare. They should be dedicated, capable of independent working, able to develop and manage relationships with dairy farmers and have an interest in participating in public and farmer facing events. 

Further information and Application: Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree in animal or veterinary sciences, have previous experience working on dairy farms and hold a full UK drivers licence.

The successful applicant will receive a tax free stipend of £15,000pa (with a top up available to veterinary graduates of £6,000 pa). Fees for Home/EU students will be paid.

Candidates should apply online at including a cover letter and CV. Queries regarding the application process should be addressed to Postgraduate Admissions Officer, (

Potential applicants are invited to contact the primary supervisor Prof Jon Huxley ( for further formation.

Start Date: 25th September 2017

Closing date: 17th February 2017 (if selected, interviews are scheduled for 31st March 2017)

Eligibility for Funding

There are funding restrictions for Non-EU students.

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Midlands of England